Ever had one of those days when you start a lesson and technology doesn’t work? Sadly that happens more than I want to admit! I’ve learned to keep a couple of “unplugged” lessons ready to go for any age, so I don’t waste my precious class time!
Unplugged lessons are lessons that focus on technology skills, but require no digital devices! They are great for the days when the internet goes down (check!), no power (check!), devices are taken for testing (check!), etc. Unplugged lessons can also be great for those first few lessons when you are still gauging student’s levels.Here are 3 ideas that you can easily incorporate on the first day!
Why not introduce classroom procedures using coding? When I introduce what coding is I explain it as a fancy way to sequence actions — remember this is an elementary school class! Students could write the steps (codes) for going to the bathroom, lining up to leave, how to take out or put away devices… the possibilities are only limited by your classroom! If you teach multiple classes, students could even cut apart the code, then put another group’s coding blocks in the correct order!
This poster is my procedure for taking out the iPads. I would use this poster as a model for students to think about each individual step in order to make the program do what you want. (Psst… you can get this poster free by clicking on it!)
Code that Dance
A super fun way to introduce coding is by having
students “code” a popular dance. (umm whip nae nae maybe?!) While this does slightly break the unplugged rule, you could show the dance from youtube or my personal favorite… gonoodle if you aren’t sure all students would know the dance!
After showing the dance, the teacher would model how to write out t
he code to the dance. After, students would create and code their own dance using strips of paper or whiteboards. Groups would rotate around and dance each others codes. What a fun way to introduce coding and especially repeats!
Even as a teacher who sees a class once a week, spending some time doing a read aloud is very important to me! One of my favorite “computer” read alouds is Click, Clack, Moo — Cows That Type which lends itself perfectly to a little intro to coding! Another book The Very Hungry Caterpillar is another book I’ve planned to read my littles in order to introduce coding!
I’ve learned the more times you can show a repeat, the easier it is later on! Now…
to figure out how to get in those pesky conditionals into my lessons…